Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


I hate the term blog

Let me not beat around the bush with this: I hate the term "blog". It's "personal web publishing" or "self publishing". Or maybe just the next generation of content management. This realization has been a while in coming. I've "blogged" before it was called that. Many "bloggers" seem to have a certain attitude, a certain "if you blog, you must do it for these reasons". Apophenia talks only about the term "blogger" vs. "journaler":

What are the implications for bloggers/blog tool creators to see people who identify as journalers and try to enforce that label on them? How does this affect tool design, community understanding and cultural development?

apophenia: Journaler is to Blogger as Dyke is to Lesbian (Why Identity through Activity Fails)

I still use the term when I need to explain it to other people, because the following long-winded explanation takes too long:

The phenomenon known as "personal web publishing" is nothing more than an easy way to add and edit content on the web. Some other attributes:

  • easy-to-use browser-based content addition and editing; you can publish content, including media such as images, from anywhere that you have an Internet connection
  • the concept of syndication, so that same content can be easily displayed on other sites, and read using a desktop application so that you can quickly see who has updated their content
  • comments and/or links between sites, where a topic or idea can freely flow between different sites, especially through the display of links from other sites next to the original content
  • unique and permanent links (URLs) for every piece of content, which is what enables the direct commenting of linking

Personal web publishing builds upon the foundation of the Web, on the concept of content linking to other content. Capitalizing on this fundamental rule is what makes it so useful. Because of the very personal, or at least opinionated, nature of the links and commentary between sites, many people describe this as something richer: conversations. Whether you are an individual, an organization, or a business, personal web publishing engages you in the larger conversation of the Internet. It gives people a reason to come back to your site, rather than view it once and never return.